Armed Forces Financial Aid Grants
The United State Army offers the Spouse Education Assistance Program (EAP) which is a To honor veterans and reward U.S.military personnel, each branch of the service puts forth financial aid for student-soldiers. Some programs are specific to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and U.S. Coast Guard, but others are offered to anyone serving. The United States department of Veterans Affairs administers the most widely recognized educational benefit for soldiers going to college – The Montgomery G.I. Bill
The Montgomery G. I. Bill is a long-standing military benefit that facilitates college funding for those who serve in branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The program is administered in two distinct chapters: Montgomery G.I. Active Duty and Montgomery G.I. Selected Reserve.
Montgomery Bill Active Duty (Chapter 30) aid guarantees up to 36 months worth of benefits for soldiers enrolled at institutions of higher education. The $50,000 eligibility is subject to additional funding allowances for active duty Army personnel who make individual contributions to their Montgomery accounts. The $600 buy-up program opens the door for additional student aid totalling over $5000 for each contributing participant. Generally, veterans remain eligible for Montgomery G.I. Bill funding for at least ten years following service, and additional resources are earned by committing to Army Reserve contracts.
The most recent incarnation of the initiative, The Post-9/11 G.I Bill, provides educational resources for approved education in these areas:
- Graduate studies
- Undergraduate degree pursuits
- Vocational school
- Technical school
- On-the-job training
- Flight school
- Distance learning
- Entrepreneurial instruction
The United State Army supports education for military family members, with the Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP). Army grants help spouses of soldiers who are serving within the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan. The program is a need-based initiative, with maximum awards totalling in the hundreds of annual tuition dollars for each successful applicant. Successful candidates are pursuing their first 4-year college degrees at approved schools. Part-time enrollment must be maintained, in order to qualify for SEAP assistance, and ongoing participation requires a 2.0 GPA.
The Spouse Tuition Aid Program (STAP) is for Navy service members who are serving overseas, and their families. Qualified applicants reside with active duty service-members, and attend college full or part time. Funds may be applied in the pursuit of undergraduate or graduate degrees. Participants attend accredited institutions of higher education that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Air Force Tuition Assistance Program (TA) benefits active duty Airmen engaging in higher education. The program pays up to 100% of tuition costs for education that is voluntary and conducted during off-duty hours. The current maximum benefit for TA participants is $4500 each academic year. Qualified educational pursuits are conducted at two and four-year colleges, universities, technical schools and community colleges. Distance and correspondence learning options also qualifiy for assistance under this Air Force program
Like other branches of the armed forces, the Air Force provides educational support for ROTC students. The Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen program (SOAR) nominates up to 50 candidates annually, to compete for college assistance in technical, health, foreign language and other fields.
Marines benefit from federally sponsored education initiatives at the undergraduate level and beyond. Programs like the Marine Deployed Education Program provide undergraduate courses for afloat marines, with 100% of tuition costs absorbed by the government. The Marine Corp College Fund is a supplemental resource that, when combined with G.I.Bill, covers most college costs for eligible participants.
Navy (Marine Option) Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships provide educational funding for worthy would-be-officers who make Marine Corps Reserve commitments.
The Admiral Mike Boorda Seaman-to-Admiral Educational Assistance Program offers annual grants to eligible Sailors and Marines. Boorda awards are valued between $500-$3000 each. Active duty service members accepted to the following programs are invited to apply for educational funding:
- Enlisted Commissioning Program
- Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program
- Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program
The Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) program offers annual grants worth $150 each, to help with college bills. The supplemental resource is reserved for ancillary education expenses, outside tuition costs, like books, housing, and supplies. Coast Guard service members and their immediate families qualify for Coast Guard Grants.
Like other federally backed financial aid for military service members, CGMA assistance applies to testing costs, if required. That means college entrance exam fees, like those charged for the SAT and ACT tests, are covered by grants.